Reply To: Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History Reply To: Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History

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gaoyongliang@yahoo.com # Posted on March 18, 2014 at 22:36

Reply to Mirabel’s post
By Yongliang Gao

In fact, I am supposed to reply Nick’s post according to the participant list. However, it seems someone had taken a faster action than me. Therefore, I decide to comment on Mirabel Joshi’s insightful post since her name stays just below Nick.

Like Mirabel said, Rackham reminds us at the right time of exposing factoids and rethinking ecological (environmental) history. In my opinion, what confuses me, as a novel researcher in environmental history, is how to distinguish the ‘certain’ from the ‘uncertain’ rather than denying pseudo-ecology utterly. For me, pseudo-ecology in some degree is useful as it releases information regardless of the validity. What worth being blamed for is the manner that the previous historians reflected the information.

Besides, I agree with you on “different types of sciences can ‘read’  and ‘decipher’ the landscape and write history”. I believe that to have a complete understanding of ecological history (where you called environmental history), it is highly necessary to absorb knowledge from diverse disciplines since it is an interdisciplinary topic. My concern is that we all have different academic background. When we soak in the enormous knowledge, we may take contradictory stances and think differently, so do the sophisticated researchers. This is irresistible because the topic encompasses too much knowledge and no one is able to master them all. In that case, the topic itself would easily steer to ‘pseudo-ecology’. Although differentiates from Rackham’s definition, it is pseudo-ecology in essence. Moreover, I think there is no way to terminate pseudo-ecology. What we can achieve is to evaluate the ‘pseudo-ecology’ in multiple fields and to reflect and extract the real part. Studying historical ecology is rather obscure, but it is exactly the beauty of the program, isn’t it?